News from the Bluebell Railway 9 November 2014  
Recreating the golden age of steam for passengers of all ages, the Bluebell Railway has a large collection of vintage locomotives, carriages, and equipment and holds many special events throughout the year.
Floreat Vapor: Let Steam Flourish! The Bluebell eNewsletter is sponsored by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
In This Issue
Cash for Cover Appeal: Onwards & Upwards
Infrastructure Report: AWF Open & OP4 Started
Mid Sussex Magic
Report: Group & Schools Visits 2014
Coach No. 5768 Restoration Report
Loco Update: AWF Opens, & More
"Stowe" Update: Backhead Welding
E4 for Ever!
A Trip Down Memory Line: Chesham 125
Website Gems: Updating Loco & Rolling Stock Webpages
Yes We Can!
Photographers' Personal Track Safety Course Dates Set
Book Sale Planned
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
Want even more locos?! Don't forget to click on the hyperlinks in the blue or underlined text !

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Frequently Asked Questions  


Gift Vouchers  


Bluebell Railway Kids for a Quid, by John Harwood.
Bluebell Railway Kids for a Quid, by John Harwood.

Bluebell Shop  


Bluebell Museum & Archive  


Bluebell Railway Part 1
Bluebell Railway Part 1, by Christopher Tinslay.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information  


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


  The Wealden Rambler  


  Local Attractions  



"Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



Bluebell Railway - 30/10/14
The Railway on 30 Oct., 2014, by Joe Malone.
UEA Archive: John Betjeman Goes by Train (Kings Lynn, 1961).

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




60163 Tornado New Build Steam Loco at East Grinstead on the Bluebell Railway
No. 60163 "Tornado" visits the Railway, by Gabriel Phillips-Sanchez.


Southern Steam: The Bluebell Line before and after closure.
Southern Steam: The Bluebell Line before and after closure.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway September 2014 Steam Gala.
Lynton & Barnstaple Railway September 2014 Steam Gala. "The SR L&B replica loco and three carriages are a highlight," notes Neil Cameron.
Station Facilities

Archivist Tony Hillman has chosen some London Transport photos from the John J. Smith collection, in honour of the recent use of the Chesham set for LT celebrations.
Archive photos can be
browsed and purchased here .

Baker Street, 1954
Bluebell Railway Part 2, by Christopher Tinsley.
Bluebell Railway Part 2, by Christopher Tinslay.
Cash for Cover Appeal: Onwards & Upwards

Bluebell Railway Cash for Cover Appeal
Bluebell Railway Cash for Cover Appeal
The Appeal has reached an amazing £340,500 in just four weeks! This figure is a little less than £10,000 short of the £350,000 target that will put up a roof capable of covering 20 carriages.

The incredible response has delighted not only myself but also Society Chairman Roy Watts, Company Chairman Dick Fearn, and C&W Director Lewis Nodes, who thank everyone who has contributed. The generosity of more than 1,200 donors has been beyond all expectations.
This response is a tremendous start to Operation Undercover 4 (OP4), which is more than just a roof. A lot more than the current target is required for doors, walls, storage space, etc., so the Appeal will continue in one form or another for a while.
The message is that if you wish to support the project, please don't stop when the current target is reached. A few people have started standing orders and many more would be welcome. Only the first year of a standing order is included in the reported sum because we can only spend what we have in the bank or expect in the next few months. A standing order form can be found here .

Donations can still be made online with Just Giving or by PayPal . The latter does not charge 5% for administration, so this method is preferred. It can be easy to forget to tick the Gift Aid box, so make sure you do if you wish us to claim it.
The OP4 Project Steering Group meets on the 25 Nov., 2014 to plan work for 2015, so that is the next deadline for making donations. The Steering Group will make its plans based on the sum raised to that date or promised for the immediate future. The group will use the eNewsletter to let keep you up-to-date.
Thank you again to all who have made donations or plan to do so.
By Roger Kelly, Funding Director

"I hate tarpaulins!" More Testimonials from JustGiving

"A very worthy project. We need this facility."

"All the best. Another big plan for the future."

"A fantastic and worthwhile cause."

"Worthy appeal. Good luck in raising the initial capital required."

"I hate tarpaulins!"

"Where Sheffield Park leads, Horsted Keynes is sure to follow!"

"Good luck. It's a well needed project. End the tarpaulin covered many and bring them indoors."

"A great need. A shed will reduce future restoration costs!"

"Hope it means I can ride/dine in The Pullman Brake."

"Good to see that all the great work done by C&W is going to be protected."

"Worthy cause--will be great to see some of our historic coaches protected for the future."

"Leaving rolling stock out in the open does them no good at all. Proper covered accommodation is the only answer."

"Wishing you success with a new facility for your coaches and wagons."

"Looking forward to seeing this much needed project come to fruition."
Infrastructure Report: AWF Open & OP4 Started

The most recent landmark event was the long-awaited opening of Sheffield Park's new staff welfare facilities ("Above Workshop Facilities," or AWF). Based in the Loco Yard, this building provides toilets, showers, and messing for both workshop and footplate staff.

We were delighted to have Chris Green perform the formal opening honours. His distinguished railway career includes leading Virgin Trains, Scotrail, and Network South East. He cut the ribbon, and following a tour of the building, declared himself well impressed with the standard achieved for both staff and volunteers, ranking it on par with similar facilities at larger railways.

Although the majority of the work was undertaken by contractors, the infrastructure team was involved throughout, providing services to the building, along with some painting jobs, finishing touches, and general project support.

At Horsted Keynes the first phase of the carriage shed (OP4 Project) foundation work has been successfully completed, thus protecting the all-important planning permission. Once the results of the Cash for Cover Appeal are known, it will be possible to plan the next phase of work based on the available funds. Much of the new shed area is currently occupied with track or buildings, so the first job will be to move things around and free up the site ready for the diggers to move in.

November is track possession time, and the next big phase of work involves some urgent culvert and track repairs between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keyes during the planned November possession slot.

The original intent was to re-lay Horsted Keynes Platform 2 and 3 roads during this period; however, further detailed inspection reveals the need to incorporate drainage and repairs to the subway roof as well, so a longer slot has to be planned into the 2015 programme.

Having said that, the culvert repairs are a high priority anyway in order to keep the railway safe during the winter. As always, it's a matter of managing priorities.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

Mid Sussex Magic  

On 7 Nov., 2014, the Railway was presented with the Chris Copsey Gold Award in recognition of its contribution to the community of Mid Sussex at the Bright FM Awards. The award was presented by Martin Stoner of HJ Stoner & Son jewellers of Burgess Hill and Kevin King of Bright FM.

The Railway also sponsored the Lifetime Achievement Award that was presented by Retail Director Neil Glaskin to Paul Myles, for his work with Burgess Hill Youth and the Sussex Young Peoples Clubs.
(L-R) James Young, Tim Baker, Julia Pique, David Cockram, Russell Pearce, Caroline Collins, Neil Glaskin, and Martin Stoner.

Report: Group & Schools Visits 2014  

Though passengers numbers are, overall, somewhat down on last year's highs, following the opening of the extension, it is encouraging that group visits generally are holding up well. On that score I can't let the opportunity pass to thank our team of guides for the work they do in meeting and talking to visiting groups.

On the education front, we continue to face a challenging task to encourage schools to visit, and the task has not been made any easier by the organisational changes arising from the virtual abolition of local education authorities, with schools, by and large, being in charge of their own budgets.

Budgetary pressures are believed to be a factor in the declining number of schools visiting in recent years--a situation facing other heritage railways--and we have been seeking to reverse this decline. The figures this year are, however, encouraging and, by the end of October, we had a total of 35 school visits (up from 18 last year) bringing more than 1,600 children and accompanying adults to the Railway (up from 728 last year).

Topics covered by visiting schools were varied and included: transport, steam trains, holidays, the impact of railways, Victorians, and The Railway Children and WWII evacuation exercises. For the exercises we use actors from local amateur dramatic societies, dressed in period costumes.

A further encouraging feature has been interest from London schools, and we had five such visits for the first time this year. London presents a huge potential market, and we are considering ways of tapping into this market as well as widening our appeal generally ...

Read the full report here .

By David Cockram, Education Officer ( )

Heritage transportation pioneer Sonia Rolt OBE, widow of author LTC "Tom" Rolt, has passed away aged 94. Read her obituary written by the Talyllyn Railway, just one of the projects she and Tom kindled.  
Coach No. 5768 Restoration Report
Richard Salmon reports on the Bulleid Society website that, "The structural timber and steel cladding of all seven passenger compartments is now complete, with the last area being the south end. Here the last corner pillar requiring replacement is being made, and the floor is almost ready to go down in the toilet, after which the last internal partitions can go back in. Work on fitting out the compartments is ongoing, starting with the ceilings."

Loco Update: AWF Opens, & More
Above Workshop Facilities lobby, by Mike Hopps. See more of Mike's AWF opening photos below.

Since my last contribution to the eNewsletter, lots of things have happened, some good news and some not quite so good. But firstly I have to correct a typo from my report in the last edition of Bluebell News .

My piece on Camelot's boiler overhaul noted that the boiler would not be returned until January 2016; I should have written January 2015. At present LNWR Crewe are about on course for this date, and we look forward to receiving the boiler and completing the overhaul in the early part of next year. Work on the frames has just about come to a halt now as we've completed everything we can until the boiler returns.

Elsewhere in the Works, the boiler of Q class No. 541 is now fully tubed and has been filled with water to check for any leaks. Apart from a few dribbles here and there, which were sealed using our caulking tools, the boiler is watertight and will now be prepared for its hydraulic test. This test is the first stage in getting a valid boiler certificate, the second stage being an out-of-the-frames steam test.

Work continues on the boiler of No. 928 "Stowe", with the last of the backhead steel sections now formed and welding of the new platework underway. We have entered into contract with a supplier who will repair the doorplate and tube plate from the inner firebox. Stay removal continues, and we're receiving help from Maunsell Locomotive Society volunteers.

The maintenance side of the Works has not faired so well, with both the C class and H class withdrawn from traffic for repairs to broken boiler stays. The broken stays were discovered during the locomotives' annual boiler exam, and they have occurred in the usual high-stress areas. Currently, the H class is in the Works having new stays fitted, and the C class will enter the Works in January for new stays as well.

Our U class No. 1638 is showing her age, and she has undergone the replacement of a tube that was leaking, while the Furness Railway Trust's 56XX tank is having some remedial work done to its vacuum pump. Both our P class locos and the E4 are performing well and can be seen working most weekends.

The department's new and long-awaited welfare facilities--known as the Above Workshop Facilities (AWF)--were officially opened on 16 Oct., 2014 by Chris Green, former Managing Director of Network Southeast. These new facilities provide improved toilet/shower facilities and a kitchen area and sitting area for both our workshop staff and loco crews.

By Christopher Hunford, Locomotive Director

"Stowe" Update: Backhead Welding

Photos on the Facebook page for V Class No. 928 "Stowe" show progress on the backhead repair. More of the outer wrapper has been removed, along with many more monel and copper stays.

Much more has been going on in the background of this project. The firebox tube plate and doorplate have been sent away so lap seams can be replaced, four new main driving springs have been ordered, and work continues on the frames.
A considerable amount of time and effort was needed to achieve this curve.

These Mike Hopps photos illustrate the opening of the new loco lobby, the first part of the Above Workshop Facility, which took place on 16 Oct., 2014. 
E4 for Ever!
Steve Lee's photo from 1 Nov., 2014 shows the E4 on departure from Kingscote, with the Victorian Metropolitan carriages.

  A Trip Down Memory Line: Chesham 125
Auto-train for Chesham leaving Chalfont & Latimer station. View westward, towards Amersham and Aylesbury on the ex-Metropolitan & Great Central Joint line from London (Baker Street and Marylebone) to Aylesbury and beyond, from which the branch to Chesham turns off to the right after a mile or so. The train is made up of old Metropolitan coaches and propelled by LMS-type Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T No. 41272. An "auto"--aka "motor" train or "push-and-pull" train--ran with cable connections from the driver's special compartment with window at the other end of the train (usually one coach), so that when in pushing mode the driver controlled the locomotive remotely, only the fireman staying on the footplate. Copyright Ben Brooksbank /Creative Commons license.
In August 2014, the Railway's four ex-Metropolitan Railway Ashburys carriages--dating from 1898--returned to their old home of Chesham in a successful celebration of the 125th anniversary of the storied branch line .

"The line to Chesham was for a while the terminus of the Metropolitan Railway. When the Met pushed out from Harrow and Rickmansworth in the 1880s, Chesham was the destination. There were proposals to link on from Chesham to the main London Euston-to-Birmingham line around the Tring area. Indeed, some land north of Chesham station was acquired for this purpose ..."

Local services to and from Chalfont & Latimer were often referred to as the " Chesham Flyer " or "Chesham Shuttle". Despite proposals for closure over the years, the branch is still in operation today with through trains to the capital, but the last of the local shuttles ran in December 2010 .

The Chesham Met carriages came to Bluebell Railway in 1961 , just in time to help with the increase in passengers: "Back in 1961, the infant Bluebell Railway could ill afford to spend a single penny, but passenger numbers demanded more than just the original two Southern Railway coaches. The cheapest coaches on the market were some ex-Metropolitan Railway coaches, dating from the turn of the last century, for which London Transport were asking only £65 each."

The carriages were lovingly restored at Horsted Keynes works by the Bluebell Ashbury Supporters and Helpers (BASH) team. Their triumphant return by rail to London was one of the banner heritage transport events of the year, and what an achievement to have them registered for travel on the network for this purpose (subject to speed restriction) given their age and the humble origins of their use on our Railway.

I understand they will be returning to London each year for more "steam on the underground" celebrations, again running with another Metropolitan Railway carriage from the London Transport museum. We look forward to that.

By Neil Cameron

Steam on the Met,  16 Aug., 2014.
Steam on the Met, 16 Aug., 2014.
Metropolitan Railway carriage first class interior, taken during the 2013 Edwardian weekend by James Petts.

Website Gems: Updating Loco & Rolling Stock Webpages

BR Standard Class 4MT 2-6-4 Tank Locomotive No. 80064

The last in a long line of large tank locomotives to have been built at Brighton Works, the Standard 4 tanks were closely associated with the last years of the Bluebell Line under British Railways. 80064 was allocated new to Watford shed (1C) from 9 June 1953 before being transferred to Dover (73H) on 31 December 1959 ...

BR Standard Steam Stock (Mk.1) Corridor Composite (CK) No. 16012

BR Mk.1 corridor composite carriage No.16012 is an earlier version of 16210. It was built for the Eastern Region of BR with vacuum braking, steam heating and was mounted on BR1 bogies. By 1974 it had been fitted with B4 roller-bearing bogies, but not additional electric heating; this latter factor leading to its withdrawal by BR at some point between 1979 and 1983 ...

GWR 5-plank Open Wagon No. 87782

If you would like to support the work on this wagon, you can give to the Bluebell Railway Trust online using your credit or debit card, through the Charities Aid Foundation, which reclaims the Gift Aid on our behalf ...
Tom Simcock chain-drilling one of the headstock brackets on the radial drill in the C&W workshop at Horsted Keynes, by David Chappell.

Planning a wedding? A wedding at the Bluebell Railway will give you a day to remember!
Yes We Can!
This cracking photo by Martin Lawrence deserves to be highlighted: Lizzie Groome guides No. 473 up Freshfield Bank on 5 Oct., 2014.

Photographers' Personal Track Safety Course Dates Set

The lineside of the Bluebell Railway is private property. Unauthorised access is not permitted, for the safety of all. If you wish to access the lineside for photographic purposes you may do so only if you hold a valid Bluebell Railway Photographer's Personal Track Safety (PTS) certificate and also comply with the Railway's rules and conditions.

A certificate, valid for one year, is awarded after successful completion of a training session and assessment, including a satisfactory health declaration. The cost for the Photographers' Personal Track Safety training session and assessment is £30 per person.

Separate arrangements for trackside working PTS are in place for staff who need to work lineside as part of their responsibilities on the railway.

Personal Track Safety training sessions for lineside Photographers will be held at Sheffield Park on the following dates in 2014-2015 (subject to a minimum of four people attending):

25 Nov. 2014; 24 Jan. 2015; 13 Feb., 2015; 14 March, 2015; 15 April, 2015; 16 May, 2015; 23 June, 2015; 23 July, 2015; 29 Aug., 2015; 23 Sept., 2015; 10 Oct., 2015; and 24 Nov., 2015.

The course runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on each day. To book a training session please contact the Sales and Information Office.

Book Sale Planned 

On 15 and 16 Nov., 2014, the Railway will be holding a second-hand book sale in the Birch Grove suite between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The sale will include some rare titles, all in good condition, and there also will be a selection of model railway items available. Plus, in the main shop some discounted books and other items will be available.

The non-electrified Uckfield line in the heart of Sussex is going to get more diesels and more capacity . News from Sussex Today .
Museum Archive Photo eNewsletter Special Offer:
If you order before the end of November 2014, you will receive a voucher with your prints offering a discount of up to 20% off your next order. To get the voucher, write "eNewsletter" on the bottom of your order form. The discount voucher can only be used for 6" x 4" prints. Vouchers are valid until end of April 2015. Order your prints now!    
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Keith Duke's photos from 25 Oct. include the animated footplate photo above.

John Sandys' 27 Oct. set.

Aron Stenning's photos from 1 Nov.

Alan Bedford's gallery includes another view (below) of the picturesque Victorian train pulled by "Birch Grove".

David Ford's photos taken on a visit to Bluebell 50 years ago.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our ever-growing Railway. Don't forget to share this eNewsletter with friends, colleagues, and family, through social media and email. See you trackside in the heart of beautiful Sussex!

John Walls
eNewsletter Editor-in-Chief, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society